MCPON Talks “CPO 365″

By Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Mike Stevens

The United States Navy has been in a constant state of change since 1775 and our ability to adapt and overcome challenge has always been one of the Chief Petty Officers’ greatest hallmarks. The changes I am implementing recognize both the environment in which we operate and the critical need to develop leaders for success in the modern era. It is simply controlling what we own.

My guidance for CPO 365 will seem familiar in many aspects but fundamentally different in others. Effective immediately, this guidance and our process will be called CPO 365- and CPO 365 only. “Induction” is hereby officially and respectfully sundowned.  I believe that induction is more about a moment in time and CPO 365 and the development of our First Class Petty Officers to become Chief Petty Officers is not about one specific moment in time. We are developing CPOs every day, 365 days a year, and so we want to make sure that the term we are using matches what we are doing.

I want to reiterate the significance of instilling fundamentals like good order and discipline, our Core Values, and the Navy Ethos early on, and of reinforcing them throughout the year with practical application. CPO 365 will consist of two phases. Phase 1 starts September 17 and concludes when the NAVADMIN announcing CPO selection results is released. All First Class Petty Officers will participate throughout the duration of Phase 1 regardless of whether they are board-eligible or not.

Phase 2 starts when the NAVADMIN announcing CPO selection is released and concludes with the Pinning Ceremony. All First Class Petty Officers will remain engaged in primary training events during this phase, although there will be specific instances where CPO Selectees conduct separate sessions. We will respect and treat those that have been selected to become Chief Petty Officers in the same way that we treat each other and that is NOT open to interpretation. Respect the dignity and welfare of Selectees while pushing them to new limits. They deserve, and I expect, nothing less.

Additionally, look for occasions to incorporate interaction with the Wardroom. Many officers I’ve met expressed their enthusiasm for enhancing the relationship between our communities. We should leverage every chance to do so as these are the future flag officers, commanding officers, and department heads who will take our fleet over the horizon.

Anticipate and mitigate training risks ahead of time as you do all other evolutions, and do not confuse legitimate tradition with archaic antics that can lead to injury or misplaced criticism of our methods.  Intervene immediately if necessary to prevent someone from getting hurt or if you see Shipmates stepping over the lines of acceptable conduct. Mentorship and bystander intervention have been Mess strengths for years and are key practices that we must teach to our Sailors through example.

If our process is truly CPO 365, all First Class Petty Officers will be afforded the opportunity for consistent year-round professional development. Will group dynamics change once board-eligibility is determined and again when Selectees are identified? Absolutely! But we must work through these challenges and stay committed to developing the leadership skills of every First Class Petty Officer – IT IS MY #1 PRIORITY. Developing effective leaders does not happen in a few short weeks – it is a continuous and never-ending process! CPO 365 is the single, sustained method we will use to train, build and develop Chief Petty Officers.

CPO 365 was an original concept of the Fleet and developed by the Fleet. Your leadership, your commitment, and your energy are the fuel of this process…they will keep this distinguished institution, our U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officers’ Mess, vibrant and meaningful.

The duties and responsibilities of a Chief Petty Officer are for professionals only. We are the most respected group of senior enlisted leaders in the world and must ensure that we provide the type and level of training that ensures this remains true today and in the future. I am proud of each of you and am confident that you will embrace this guidance and get after it like only Chiefs can.